Mexican soul food, part two


This photo was taken the other night at about three in the morning at a hole-in-the-wall taco stand on calle Bolivar, a street known for its myriad cantinas. Various different meats had been swirling in that deep fat since approximately one in the afternoon. For the uninitiated, they include slabs of suadero (a cut of beef from the lower part of the rib), extensive tubes of longaniza sausage, festively curling tripes and chunks of pork marinated in chile – all sizzling in the same deep grease. After you place your order, the murderous-looking taquero daintily dips the tortillas in the fat before heating them in the center of the grill, chops the corresponding meats with which to fill them, and voila. Before serving, he’ll ask if you want the tacos garnished with “vegetables.” (He’s referring to chopped onion and cilantro.) The traditional accompaniment is a water-based soft drink known as Boing, which comes in various fruit flavors. The one in the photo is mango.